Welcome to Plastic Free July! This month we are taking extra time to celebrate the earth's beauty! It is so important that we each do our part to protect it. Throughout this month, Kigali Moms and Dads will be sharing our best tips on small daily lifestyle changes that will reduce our carbon footprint and places to take our feet and explore beautiful Rwanda!
Rwanda is home to four beautiful national parks and all are easy weekend or day trips from Kigali! When you visit a national park, there’s one golden rule: Leave no trace. What does that mean? There should be no evidence that you and your family visited the park besides wonderful memories and pictures! Here are 3 tips on how to leave no trace:
Bring reusable water bottles and pack any snacks you can in tupperware instead of plastic. If you do have to bring in plastic wrapped snacks, make sure you take all the trash out of the park with you! Looking for ways to pack snacks, Bee’s Wrap are reusable snack wraps- easy, cleanable, and light!
Leave the wilderness (including rocks, flowers, etc.) for everyone else to join aka in the park! Taking things out of the park may disrupt the ecosystem.
Stick to the path! Though it may seem exciting to go out and explore, walking on ground that isn’t used to it may cause erosion or damage to several species.
Wondering what to do in national parks? These symbols will help you navigate what’s available at each park!
Parc Nationals des Volcans
Distance from Kigali: 2h 27 min via RN4
Gorilla trekking- Usually an early start, so be prepared for an early departure from Kigali! You can also come prepared with your gorilla tracking permit! Permits range from $75-$750. Learn how to get one here. Book your tour here!
Musanze Caves- a two mile kilometer trail deep under the earth! Catch glimpses of bats, unique rock formations, and much more!
Buhanga EcoPark- Mix conservation and history by touring this amazing site full of unique butterflies and birds. It was once the site of rituals performed by Rwandan Kings.
Visiting Dian Fossey- Dian Fossey was an American conversationalist who dedicated her life studying mountain gorillas and advocating for the earth. Visit her grave or learn about her legacy through the many eco friendly businesses and groups such as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in the Musanze villages or the Iby’iwacu Cultural Village.
The twin lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera
Email to reserve a tour of the activities above!
Gorilla trekking: $75-$750
Iby’iwacu Cultural Village: $20
Buhanga EcoPark- $40 per person
Cave: $30 per person
Dian Fossey Hike: $75 per person
Akagera National Park
Akagera is one the oldest parks in the region and known for its rich conservation history! It is home to of the first rescue missions of black rhinos in history of the world’s conservation parks. Now it is home to all of the Big 5 animals: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo as well as many more unique and exciting species!
Distance from Kigali: 2.5 hours on RN3
Game Drive- Take a guided tour by foot or by car and see some of the big five animals up close! Available both during the day and at night!
Bird Watching- Over 750 species of birds call Akagera National Park home!
Nature Walks- Peaceful and slow walks around many of Akagera paths. Great activity for families with young children or want to have a relaxing day. The Walk the Line hike allows you to walk in daily routine of some of the parks staff members and learn more about the reintroduction of lions!
Boat Ride on Lake Ihema- Enjoy a relaxing boat ride while seeing one of the biggest concentrations of hippos in East Africa along with many spectacular birds and views of elephants!
Entrance fee- EA Nationals: $7 per adult/ $3.5 per child. Prices may change based on your residency status.
1 hour Boat trip- $35 per person, $20 per child
Game Drive- $180 half day, $280 full day per person
Walk the line hike- $30 per person, $20 per child
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Distance from Kigali: 4.5 hours on RN1 and RN6
Hiking-Explore over 13 different hiking trails! Some of the most popular ones are:
Igishigishigi Trail- 30 minutes to complete, around 2 kilometers
Karamba Birding Trail- Flat, easy to spot Dent’s Monkeys, 4 kilometers long
Canopy Walk-Hang with the birds above the trees on the Canopy Walk. In two 2 hours, you’ll be able to discover the biology of underneath and above the canopy as well as see some of the most beautiful waterfalls of the region, the Ishuno waterfalls!
Canopy Walk- $10 per person
Chimpanzee Tracking- $60 per person
Guided Nature Walks- $30-40 per person
Birdwatching- $20 per person
Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Gishwati-Mukura National Park is officially Rwanda’s fourth national park since 2015! It has had one of the biggest role in Rwanda’s focus on on improving biodiversity conservation! With its location on the Congo-Nile River Divide, there is a never ending supply of beautiful views!
Distance from Kigali: 3 hours on RN4
Chimp and primate trekking- Follow in the footsteps of primates! Remember you’ll still need a permit beforehand!
Nature walks- Some of the most popular trails includes the Riverside trail, the Rushubi Tea Trial, and the Rucanzogera Trail!
Activities range from $10-$35 per person.
Want to travel around a National Park with a tour? Check out Rwanda Eco-Tours!